Bio: Steiner, Jeanette (Retires - 2015)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Steiner, Eichten, Kuehn, Nitschke

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 4/29/2015

Steiner, Jeanette (Retires - 2015)

Steiner retires as Granton clerk/treasurer after 48 years

By Todd Schmidt

Jeanette Steiner (right) chats with former trustee Roger Nitschke (Left) and former village board President Russell Kuehn April 21 at the village of Granton office. A party was held in her honor, as she retired after 48 years of service as clerk/treasurer. (Photo by Todd Schmidt/Clark County Press)

April 21 was a melancholy day in the Village of Granton office, as many well-wishers stopped by to wish Jeanette Steiner good luck on her retirement after serving as clerk/treasurer for 48 years.

Steiner, 82, would still be going strong, but a stroke two years ago slowed her down considerably. She decided on her own to step down after a long and distinguished career that began with her election as Village Clerk in 1967.

‘I wanted to give the village board a chance to hire someone new,’ Steiner said. She assisted in a process that culminated with the hiring of Joye Eichten, 48, as the new clerk/treasurer. Eichten started working with Steiner March 23, 2015, assimilating as much as she could from her eager teacher in less than 30 days.

Steiner began her career doing village paperwork at her dining room table at home. Through the years she did much of the ledgering manually. When her health issues arose two years ago, she resorted to a typewriter and signature stamp and did not miss a beat.

She faced opposition on the ballot twice until 1993, prevailing both times. That year the village board changed the position from being elected to appointed. A year later, the village board added the treasurer’s duties to the job description.

Meetings were held for many years at the village hall building across the street. When Citizens State Bank of Loyal built a new building up the street in the late 1970s, the village board purchased the former bank building for use as a village office.

For the first 15 years of her career with the village, Steiner and her family operated Steiner’s Store. The family sold the sundry store, a former pharmacy, in 1982.

Steiner checked the ledger April 21, which documented that she worked with six different village presidents and multiple board trustees. Russell Kuehn village president from 1986 to 2006 and Roger Nitschke a trustee for a few years, stopped by to wish her well in her retirement.

‘Everybody appreciates what Jeanette has done through the years,’ Nitschke said. ‘She is always on top of things. She has been involved in everything in the village.’

During her tenure, Steiner assisted with development of a beautiful community park, numerous village improvements, establishment of an apartment complex for low-income tenants and much more. She wrote grant applications, obtaining funding for utility projects, park improvements and a new fire station. She also took charge of a village-wide house numbering project.

Probably the most near and dear project for Steiner was development of the village park, including the baseball/softball field.

‘That area was swampland,’ she said, ‘I put my heart and soul into it. The school and the community use the park. It is a real asset to the village.’

Her most recent and visible accomplishment was obtaining grant funds to clean up the corner of USH 10 leading into Granton. Several residents assisted with the grant application, but Steiner was the one who had to deal with the contractors and paperwork, including annexing the property to the village.

‘That corner was a disgrace to the village,’ Steiner said. ‘Due to contamination issues, it has to remain a green space and can no longer be developed for anything. It is now a real asset to the village. It creates a more inviting first impression.’

In 2014 the village received a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant-Public Facility award to re-do the water and sewer lines under the CTH K Bridge, renovate a lift station, loop the water system and repaint the water tower. Steiner said the work should be completed in 2015.

In the past, the village obtained grant funding for a low-interest loan program for housing improvements.

She also had a hand in combining the school and village library at the Granton School.

‘It is a very important project,’ Steiner said. ‘Now there’s so much more for the public, including expanded hours, materials, and resources, including use of computers.’

Her philosophy of dealing with residents and customers through the years has been pretty simple. ‘I would let anyone talk who would come in to the office,’ she said. ‘I would thank them for expressing their opinion, and if I couldn’t help them, I would tell them I would express their concerns to the proper people.’

Steiner said dealing with people has a very rewarding part of her clerk/treasurer job, with the exception at times of those representing the DNR, OSHA, EPA and county and state government.

‘Residents of the village have been very kind and supportive,’ she said. ‘I always enjoyed what I was doing. I never dreaded coming to work, maybe because I was kind of my own boss. I always enjoyed working with the village board.’

Throughout the years, Steiner served as a member of the Clark County Ambulance Committee and as a 20-year member of Memorial Medical Center, elected as president for multiple terms. In addition, Steiner was organist, choir director and catechism teacher at the former St. Stephens Church in Chili.

She has been active in Granton Area School events, including the FFA Alumni and the Granton Area School Foundation. She got a commercial in for the Foundation Sweet Treat fundraiser coming up June 13 at the Granton Community Center.

Steiner is also an active member of the Granton Rotary Club. She received the Paul Harris Fellow Award for her efforts in the eradication of polio project.

Her husband Francis, also a community activist, passed away in 2011. In their parents’ honor, their five children donated two ‘Welcome to Granton’ signs that adorn USH 10.

Their three daughters, Ann, Sharon and Sheila, served as hostesses for the retirement party. Steiner said one of her greatest accomplishments was compiling and publishing a cookbook in 2012 with the help of her family.

She plans to relax and enjoy life, visiting her children, 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, expanding her 60-year career of being a mom.

Joye Eichten was appointed as new Clerk/treasurer for the Village of Granton, replacing the retiring Jeanette Steiner, who held the position for 48 years. (Photo by Todd Schmidt/Clark County Press)

Steiner has confidence Eichten will do just fine as village clerk/treasurer.

‘Joye is friendly and polite and is a real people person,’ Steiner said. ‘She will fill the bill here. I have a good feeling leaving the position in such good hands.’

Eichten manned the camera in between waiting on customers and answering the telephone in the village office during the retirement party.

‘Jeanette is leaving some pretty big shoes for me to fill,’ Eichten said. ‘It feels like we’ve been in this Olympic event, passing the torch. I thank her for spending the last 30 days with me. It has been a pleasure.’

When the position was advertised, Eichten thought it would be a perfect fit. She and her family have live in Granton for 20 years.

Doug, her husband of 31 years, works as a manager at Schierl Companies. Two of their children (Allie and Ben) are Granton High School graduates. Their two youngest children (Nell and Cameron) will graduate from Granton High School this spring.

She worked as clerk for the Town of Lynn for nine years. She moved on to a management position at Figi’s in Marshfield (17 years) and then worked for a short time in the marketing department at Marshfield Furniture.

‘I loved my clerk job in the Town of Lynn,’ Eichten said. ‘I really enjoy working with people. I am very familiar with the Granton community.’

She describes herself as being organized, good with numbers and detail-and-technology-oriented. At times, the clerk/treasurer deals with water, sewer, library, park, tax and cemetery issues.

‘In this job you are pulled in many different directions, and sometimes you have to grab records out of a hat,’ Eichten said. ‘I believe I am up to the challenge.’



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